It may be time to add storytelling to your resume.
On Friday, a group of Wharton undergraduates ventured to Irvine Auditorium for a full day of learning how to use storytelling to develop their leadership abilities. Quinn Bauriedel, co-founder of the Pig Iron Theatre Company, led the session conducted as a part of the ongoing Wharton Leadership Ventures.
Bauriedel opened the afternoon with a petition for the practical value of storytelling as a leadership tool.
“Stories are a medium to engage and connect with audiences, applicable in any avenue of life,” Bauriedel said. “When you’re making a pitch using a story, you’re delivering some kind of value that people can latch on to — and appealing to their desire to be a part of something greater than themselves.”
Bauriedel then led the 18 participants through a series of exercises meant to hone their abilities to read audience cues and speak with confidence, charisma and depth of character. The Whartonites jumped from one unconventional activity to another, drawing upon their more theatrical sides to provide a four-minute description about a single bite of food, tell and attempt to translate short stories told in foreign languages and map out their lives on a sheet of paper.
Wharton senior Sarah Kho, an advisory board coordinator for Wharton Leadership Ventures, found storytelling’s role in communication to be a crucial takeaway from the day.
“A huge part of being a good leader is being able to convey a vision or image. A majority of our communication is nonverbal, and the exercises helped draw out in detail how people can effectively express their messages through tone of voice or body positioning,” Kho said.
Bauriedel’s workshop ultimately emphasized the idea that powerful stories are necessary precursors to success. In the final activity of the day, individuals mapped out their life stories on a piece of paper. Fellow participants then pointed out themes they recognized, overwhelmingly identifying extreme highs and lows as points of commonality.
“This exercise made it clear that the best stories come from points of transition in our lives,” participating Wharton freshman Hannah Gay said. “When the lowest lows start to turn around or when the highs falter — these are the growth experiences that, if told engagingly, can motivate and inspire others.”Comments powered by Disqus
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